3D Scene Geometry Compression

Posted on: December 13 2015 Comments: 0
So I just wrote a small plugin for compressing the geometry of a 3d scene. It went surprisingly well: It achieved a reduction between 50% and 70% for some of my test scenes: What it does is to merge vertices with similar attributes. I noticed that for most scenes, people don't need the exact vertex colors and normals, so vertices with the same positions and texture coordinates can be merged. This doesn't work with all types of scenes of course, but for some, they look identical, but have now a 70% smalle... [Read more]




Software user behavior change (2003 - 2015)

Posted on: December 09 2015 Comments: 8
Since more than 18 years, I'm developing and selling commercial software. I noticed quite a change in the behavior of the customers of my software, when it comes to support and problem resolution. To show what I mean, see the typical (shortened) exchanges I usually have with my customers: 2003 and before: Customer: Hey, there seems to be a problem with your software. I tried for a few days now, and read all the documentation, but I cannot find a solution for $My_Problem$. Me: Hi, just try $Solution$, ... [Read more]




DZone Q&A with me

Posted on: December 03 2015 Comments: 1
DZone did a short interview with me, about Irrlicht, Game Engines and CopperCube. [Read more]




Improved procedural vegetation generation

Posted on: November 28 2015 Comments: 5
I don't have much spare time anymore, but when I do from time to time, I like working on my procedural generated post apocalyptic game, which runs directly in the browser (WebGL), and is based on my book. I just added a much improved procedural generated vegetation: It looks much better in movement, but see for yourself (Chrome or Firefox recommended). I'm also using this to actively test CopperCube's WebGL 3D engine, and to improve it here and there. Works nice so far, with the next CopperCube updat... [Read more]




RocketCake 1.0 released

Posted on: November 26 2015 Comments: 0
After 2 public beta versions, I just released RocketCake 1.0. It is the responsive website designer I've been working on recently, and it is free to use: There is also a professional edition which costs 39 euro to keep funding further development, but you can basically do mostly everything with the free basic edition. It is also available now in the Mac App Store. Feedback was very positive so far, and people really seem to like it. [Read more]




XCode and me

Posted on: November 04 2015 Comments: 5
I hope someone will reserve a very special place in hell for the designers of XCode. About once a year, you are focrced to update to the next XCode version, although the current one just works perfectly. And after upgrading, something usually stops working. This time, the buttons in XCode for verifying and uploading the project were simply disabled / grayed out. No hint, no message, no error. Just a grayed out button. No mention in the documentation. I now wasted hours of work just to find out the reason fo... [Read more]




Learn how to report a bug

Posted on: October 16 2015 Comments: 5
From time to time, I get bug reports like this: Your software doesn't work anymore since yesterday on my system. So... what software does the user talk about? He didn't select any product from the list (he choose the default, 'other'). But I am currently selling a handful of products. And what does he mean with "doesn't work"? Does it crash? Doesn't it do its job anymore? Does it do it in a way the user doesn't expect it to be done? And what happened 'yesterday', which caused the change in behavior? Did h... [Read more]




CopperCube 5.3 released

Posted on: September 25 2015 Comments: 0
I just released CopperCube 5.3, it includes quite some new features such as fog rendering, much better Blender .blend import, experimental FBX support, WebGL and Android improvements and more. The unusual thing is that I am giving away CopperCube Basic edition for a 50% discount now. Crazy, I know, it is a bit of an experiment. A detailed list of the changes in version 5.3 can be found here. It is a pretty nice list, and I'm quite happy with it. [Read more]




Heating Our Building - Part II

Posted on: September 23 2015 Comments: 2
In the beginning of this year, I blogged about the air-to-water heat pump which is taking care that all the programmers in my office have it warm in winter. It is now running for more than one full year, so I have some more data to show: The graph below shows the temperature and the needed electricity. It also contains the electricity needed by the full building, but at least 80% is used for the heat pump: Easily to see that if it gets cold outside, the needed power goes up quite a lot. It looks ... [Read more]




Fog

Posted on: September 11 2015 Comments: 3
It's a bit embarrassing, but although CopperCube is already in version 5, and now about 7 years old, it still doesn't support fog. (Well unless you add this by writing your own shaders). But fog is a pretty cool feature, especially for the lightweight targets like WebGL and Android. So I started adding this: It looks very nice, especially when used with terrain. Works also with the reflecting realtime water, I didn't even have to change a line of code for that, interestingly. This new feature - fog - w... [Read more]




C++ sorcery

Posted on: September 10 2015 Comments: 2
Achievement of the day: Made a big C++ library compile on Visual Studio 2005, although it uses lots of features of C++11 . Learned a lot about C++11 details that way. [Read more]




Short "The Thing" (2011) review

Posted on: September 09 2015 Comments: 0
So last weekend, I watched "The Thing" on Amazon Prime, thinking that it is a remake of the original "&The Thing" film from 1982. It has been many years since I saw the original movie, so I was confused about all the people speaking Norwegian, and the discovery of an alien space ship, of which I was sure it didn't happen in the original movie. Also, the main character was female, suddenly. I was pretty pissed by then, assuming this was again a pretty poor remake with lots of changes in the plot, "just ... [Read more]




RocketCake Beta 1 released

Posted on: September 04 2015 Comments: 3
I just released Beta 1 of RocketCake, the free responsive website editor. The internal beta test went pretty well, and I am happy that the testers loved that editor. If you just want to design a ready-to-go website without the need to code anything, it seems to be working very well for now: You can download the editor from its website, but keep in mind, it is still in Beta. No major bugs are known for now, and it seems to work well. There isn't a Mac OS X version yet, but work has started for this alr... [Read more]




Optimizing Memory Usage

Posted on: August 28 2015 Comments: 4
I've been working a bit on optimizing speed and memory usage of my not-yet-released free responsive website editor. I'm quite OK with the result so far: Yes, that's right: the editor is using nearly 3 times less memory for editing a website then Firefox needs for merely showing the website! And it only contains a bit of text and images, no JavaScript or any other fancy stuff. Wondering what the Firefox devs did there. [Read more]




Announcing a new project

Posted on: August 21 2015 Comments: 4
A few months ago, Google decided to also rank websites based on if they work well on mobile devices. I looked shortly into that, trying to see how much work it would be to convert my software website to a responsive one. After a bit of playing around, I decided that this would be too much work for now. But still, it itched me, and figured out that a lot of people probably have this problem too. So I took my web editor WebsitePainter and - for testing - extended it a bit to allow responsive website desi... [Read more]




Day/Night cycle in 3D running in your browser

Posted on: July 18 2015 Comments: 3
So I finally was able to code a small update for Endtime at Home, the game I use for prototyping new features for CopperCube. It now has a realtime day/night cycle, you can make light using a flash light, torch or match sticks, there is now a UI, a world map, and more: You can try the game out directly in your browser, if you have Chrome or Firefox. I hear it also runs nicely on the iPad, in Safari. Maybe Apple finally fixed their WebGL bugs. The same scene at sunset: It should run fast even on slow... [Read more]




I'm a celebrity!

Posted on: July 09 2015 Comments: 5
You don't get back much for creating open source software, but at least, sometimes it gives you a very good feeling: And makes you laugh sometimes :) [Read more]




Implementing your own CSS Layouter

Posted on: June 19 2015 Comments: 3
I've written a lot of websites during the last nearly two decades, and know pretty much of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other web technologies because of that. But there is usually always a situation where I have to scratch my head and wonder how or why a browser is lay-outing a specific part of a website the way it does. And confusingly, why in the world other browsers are doing it in the exact same, weired way as well. I recently had to implement a big part of CSS 2's visual formatting model for a new com... [Read more]




Now on Steam

Posted on: May 07 2015 Comments: 3
So, CopperCube is now available on Steam: It was quite an interesting journey until there, and also interesting seeing Steam from 'the other side', as developer, opposed to previously, as gamer. I may not talk about any details, but I definitely expected something a bit different. :) CopperCube has a launch discount of -20% applied to it on Steam, which still works until tomorrow, Friday 8th of May. To be fair, I also made this discount available to the non-Steam from our website, which you can get he... [Read more]




Android Development Update Hell

Posted on: April 30 2015 Comments: 2
It appears to me that recently, some developers have gone nuts. Like the ones sitting at Google. They don't seem to be interested in backwards or forwards compatibility, and are pushing out this incredible crazy development dependencies. As example, see below what I spent half of this day doing: I just wanted to debug CopperCube's Android client code on a newly bought phone. Should be easy, with a ready to run and working development environment, right? No: Me: trying to debug my code by hitting the ... [Read more]




Greenlit!

Posted on: April 22 2015 Comments: 3
Last week, Valve sent me a friendly mail, notifying me that CopperCube has been greenlit. That's pretty neat news! It will take some time making CopperCube available on steam, because this involves quite a bit more than just uploading the app there, but once this is done, maybe a few more people start using the game engine. This would be pretty nice, because then, I would be able to allocate more resources to continue developing even cooler new features for CopperCube. I'll keep you updated on ... [Read more]




The Real World doesn't have Undo

Posted on: April 15 2015 Comments: 4
Software projects are quite often compared to other scenarios, like building a house or a car. I've often heard the claim that time estimates, planning or defect management are so much better in those other areas of engineering. But they are not true, in my opinion. How many programmers do you know, who ever did some "real world engineering"? If you are a software developer, have you ever built something with your own hands? During the last 5 years, I've build a lot of stuff which was not software, and I... [Read more]




My Adventure of Getting a Code Signing Certificate

Posted on: April 01 2015 Comments: 5
It was a surprisingly strange procedure to get a Code Signing Certificate. Which I decided to obtain in order to make the nasty ones of the browsers like Internet Explorer stop complaining when downloading installers for the software I develop. Finally, I now have one. If you should decided to get one too, one day, read here what I had to go through: On the CA's website, I had to enter the type of certificate I wanted, for how many signing processes and for what type of software. The website left m... [Read more]




High-Tech solar eclipse gadget

Posted on: March 20 2015 Comments: 2
For watching the partial solar eclipse event today in Europe, I used only high tech equipment. It even apparently had HDMI support: It actually worked, and the sun appeared like a crescent moon in that device, with a size of about half a centimeter. I didn't notice any benefit of that advertised HDMI support, though. :) [Read more]




Cities: Skylines Review

Posted on: March 14 2015 Comments: 2
About 25 (!) years ago, I played the first SimCity. You could build your own city, with streets, electricity and everything, and try to let it withstand catastrophic events like Godzilla or nuclear metldowns. It was great. I spent a lot of time with it. I also played Sim City 2000 as a teenager, but I didn't try the newer versions, especially not the latest incarnation from 2013, called simply 'SimCity' (without a number), which apparently sucked, according to many reviews. Then, a few days ago, a SimCity ... [Read more]




Amazon Prime Instant Video

Posted on: March 08 2015 Comments: 0
Since about two months, I'm a Amazon Prime user, and quite happy with that. You don't only get free delivery with this, you also get to access to Amazon Prime Instant Video, an on demand video service, like the better known Netflix. I was skeptical in the beginning, but although I have to live with our slow country side internet access, it works like a charm. You can watch whatever you want, whenever you want, without commercials. Amazon seems to be just starting with this, so the list of videos is big but... [Read more]




CopperCube 5.2 and its water rendering

Posted on: March 01 2015 Comments: 5
I just released the game engine CopperCube in version 5.2 as free update. Besides other features, it includes the announced water surface rendering, which I managed to make work on all supported platforms: Windows (D3D and OpenGL), Mac OS X, WebGL, Android, and even Flash. It looks nicely on all of these, here are some examples: It looks much nicer in movement, of course. If you want to see it in action, you can try it directly on a website, I created a small demo with two different scenes: WebGL Water r... [Read more]




Baffled by Microsoft Developer Support

Posted on: February 13 2015 Comments: 3
I think I mentioned this already on this blog, but this week, the Microsoft Developer Support again has left me completely astonished: I had a small problem and left without any other options, I contacted Microsoft directly, via mail. After a couple of hours, a real human answered my mail, with a working solution and friendly text referring my mail, which proved that the support guy didn't even copy and paste that text from some existing solution. I thanked him for that quick help and he even replied friend... [Read more]




Water

Posted on: February 08 2015 Comments: 1
I just implemented a nice looking feature into CopperCube, which will very likely make it into the next free update: Nice looking realtime water surfaces: It will be possible to create oceans, lakes and rivers with it easily. I think this will also work nicely and pretty fast in WebGL, I'm not so sure about Flash and Android yet, but I'm positive so far. The implementation is pretty simple: Set a clip plane at the water surface Render your scene with reflection matrix into a render target Draw the... [Read more]




Pieces of modern Art

Posted on: January 29 2015 Comments: 3
People sometimes forget that a programming language is a tool to tell the computer what to do, and to tell other programmers what you wanted the computer to do. Programming languages are not a way to write a piece of modern art, to create algorithms in the most inconvenient, unreadable but shortest way possible. Unfortunately, some people seem to think that way. Fortunately again, this is also the reason why a lot of programmers still have a job. [Read more]






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